Wednesday, May 07, 2008

where did he go?

I met one of two doctors who did chest compressions on Jeff while I did the breathing. It was by fluke that I had an appointment with him instead of my regular doctor. I was so glad to be able to thank him for what he tried to do that day. He told me that it's been on his mind often since that day. He's only been with three people when they died since he became a doctor in the early 70's. He was saddened by how young Jeff and our family were. I found it somehow comforting to know that he had been thinking about it too and that those terrible moments aren't only carried by me.

I asked him if he believes that there is anything after death (as I ask everyone lately....I think it's probably weird and too personal but I find a need to know where everyone stands....Even though I don't know where I stand...). He wasn't sure either but he told me about a woman who came to him last week claiming to have had a 'near death experience'. There seem to be so many parallels between most of the stories that I hear about NDEs. I do, however, wonder if these parallels can be explained by the effects of oxygen deficiency on the brain, optic nerve, etc. I read the books, "Life After Life" and "The Afterlife Experiments" and one by some coroner but I just see so many flaws. It would be SO nice to be able to just blindly believe. As a good friend of mine says, "You'll never know until it's over, so why not just choose to believe and find out then if you're right" (or something to that effect).

I do have trouble believing in many of the religious ideas that I was brought up with. If there is 'something' out there, I sometimes ponder the thought that it could be residual energy. They say energy 'goes on forever'. Similar to how after a star ceases to exist, but it's light remains eternally as it travels through the universe, does something like that happen to our energy. Or is our energy primarily physical? I'm mean, when we die, as our bodies decompose after we die is that energy just transformed into fodder for worms; or is there a mental energy or consciousness that 'survives' in some form?

I know there are so many phenomena that are difficult to explain and people love to explain them in terms of either religion or paranormal but I wonder if these things are just huge coincidences. There are things in my life that have happened that have given me a chance to pause and wonder but I still question it all. I'd LOVE to believe that there was something more at work. I really, really want that faith.

I realize that I sound like a fruit-loop with all my wild ramblings here but I am floundering. I never worried so much about it all. I was okay with thinking there was a possibility of anything. Now I don't want possibilities. I want to know.

I will say that I am no longer afraid of death. I was terrified as a child of death. I'd beg my parents not to get cremated. I would bring dead animals carcasses with me to church in the pockets of my coat and then bury them in the backyard under the lilac. I was horrified if someone I loved said "goodbye" instead of "see you later" because I was convinced it meant it was the last time I'd see them. Now I don't find it scary at all. I figure if there is something after, Jeff will be there to greet me. If there isn't, then he has done it before me and I am no longer afraid. He essentially 'cleared the cobwebs ahead of me' (thanks Krista!) and no matter what happens he did it and I know that it is safe now.

P.S. The goldfinch with it's breeding plumage is back. I took these pictures through the window today. Isn't it beautiful?

Also, I finally put the last of the flowers from Jeff's funeral in the compost. I know he never saw the flowers and they are actually a reminder of his death, but again, it seems to mark the passable of time that I am being forced down and away from him. That and the 22 toilet paper rolls that we've gone through since then.....Okay, I have lost it.


Krista said...

I LOVE that chicken coup! Yes!! I can't believe I have not seen your chicks yet and they're all grown up it seems :( You guys are just meant to be chicken people, look how happy and healthy they look! Hoping you've got at least a couple of 'ladies' there :) Anyway, I love your thoughts poured out here, you always give me so much to think about. I hope your tummy's settled down now, at least the coup has probably taken your mind off everything temporarily. Talk soon.
Beautiful photos, too, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jackie,

I understand what you are saying about losing your fear of death. I was with a friend and also my mother when she died. It took away my fear. But of course it only increased the sense of mystery. One minute she was here and then she was gone. Where? I struggle too with faith in an afterlife. But I have come to believe this -- it is the mystery itself that we honor and believe in. The mystery is so much bigger than we are. There is a kind of humility that comes over you when you realize you are one small piece of that infinite mystery.

I believe you will look back in a year or two and be amazed at how much you have learned from this terrible experience. Suffering teaches us like nothing else. You were innocent of the horrible grief life can bring and now you are not. I know you will never stop missing Jeffrey and mourning for him but (and I hope I don't offend you by saying this) I believe that one day you will be grateful for the deeper understanding and acceptance of life and its mysteries this experience will bring you.

With much love and good wishes for you and your family,

Neurotic Chic said...

I believe in an afterlife with a Higher Power, but have often worried that when my back is against the wall my skepticism will rise up. I go through huge periods of doubt, even as a "believer", and I have a feeling that when it really "matters" it will be much harder to believe.... I hope not, but it will be scarier to hope when I desperately need that hope.